Skip to main content

False Headlines on Bill Protecting Children and Women's Sports

Our State Media Gets It All Wrong...Again
By John Fortney
December 15, 2023
On The Record

This week the Ohio Senate passed House Bill 68, which does two things.

It protects women’s sports, by making sure women compete against women. And it protects children from radical sex change procedures.

That’s it.

But if you just read the headlines from Ohio’s newsrooms and didn’t know anything about the bill you’d think the legislation banned athletes from sports and banned treatment for children suffering from behavioral disorders. 

That would be a lie.

Here is the headline from the Columbus Dispatch.

This is false. No one is banning student athletes from sports. Let’s not immediately accept the media’s terminology for what is socially acceptable and politically correct. 

Boys don’t belong on the same soccer field as girls. Boys don’t belong on the same volleyball court, and boys certainly do not belong in girls’ locker rooms. Boys who, to use term “identify” as girls, may still compete in sports. They would compete with other boys of the same age group as usual. 

When boys and men are granted access to women’s sports, as was the case in the 2022 NCAA Swim Championships, it undermines the very foundation of Title IX.

Watch our podcast with 12 time All American swimmer Riley Gaines, as she describes the shock, intimidation and heartbreak of her teammates as a man captured the 500 free style NCAA Division One Championship. For the very same reason varsity football players don’t compete against the junior high team, women should not be forced to compete against men.

Cleveland.com joined the Dispatch with a similar headline.

False. The bill does not do any of the above.

First of all, there are men’s sports and women’s sports.

I’m unaware of a third category of “transgender sports” in Ohio high school or collegiate athletics.

Secondly, healthcare for children suffering from a behavioral disorder remains available. 

The Dispatch headline said, “restrict medical care for trans kids.”

As a former reporter, I know headlines are meant to drive readership and clicks. So, in the interest of fairness, if medical care for children diagnosed with a behavioral disorder is defined as the surgical removal of genitalia, then yes, the bill does restrict that so-called level of “care.” So, partial credit on that part of the false headline. However, the bill does allow therapy and counseling. Patients who are already receiving hormone-based treatment may continue their treatment. 

The Senate accepted input from Children’s Hospital doctors who treat these patients and preserved that level of treatment.

The headline from cleveland.com is wrong on both counts. There is no ban on health care.

Of course, the privately funded and far left leaning Ohio Capital Journal lived up to its mission with nearly the same headline as cleveland.com.

To be clear, care remains available and athletes are not banned from sports.

Today, there are children who suffer from behavioral disorders, children whose immature, still developing brains are very vulnerable to predatory suggestion. These children need to be protected from radical procedures reserved for adults. They need to be protected from predators on social media. And they need to be protected from this radical agenda in the classroom, as we have learned from Libs of TikTok.

These are the stories and headlines today’s newsrooms should be covering, but they are more concerned about advocacy journalism than simply reporting the facts.

John Fortney is Director of Communications for the Ohio Senate Majority Caucus